Legislate “Rohith Act”

Resolution adopted at the Central Committee Meeting held on January 6-8, 2017 at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
THE Central Committee of the CPI(M) in its session at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, expresses solidarity with all those organisations of dalits, students, women and democratic sections who are observing the first anniversary of the institutional murder of Rohith Vemula on January 17, 2017.  It is a travesty of justice that a brilliant, young dalit student was pushed into committing suicide because of the brutal insensitivity and caste prejudice displayed by two cabinet ministers of the Modi government who exerted tremendous pressure on the administration of the Hyderabad Central University, where he was a PhD student, to victimise him for his commitment to social justice, secular thought and opposition to the death penalty.  The vice-chancellor of the university, due to his own ideological moorings, did not defend the autonomy of the institution and behaved in the most unjust and vindictive fashion towards Rohith and his fellow-students.  They were thrown out of the hostel and forced to live in a tent in the bitter cold, they were denied canteen facilities and they were even denied their scholarship money for several months.  The police was also used to threaten these young men.  All this created a sense of complete despair in Rohith who was driven to commit suicide on January 17, 2016.

Further, the central government has done everything in its power to try and prove that Rohith did not belong to the Scheduled Caste.  This was done to protect all those responsible for his death from the provisions of
the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act.  Neither the central government nor the Telengana state government had helped Rohith’s mother, a poor single parent who is a tailor, or his family in any way.

The Central Committee of the CPI(M) supports the demand raised by many student and dalit organisations for the passage of a “Rohith Act” so that students can be protected from caste-oppression and caste-discrimination
in educational institutions and also that those who resort to such measures face salutary punishment and removal from their posts. The CPI(M) extends its complete solidarity and support for the passage of such a law. 

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